Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shelbyville Triathlon Series #4 - Race Recap

Last Sunday, Jennifer and I raced in the fourth and final triathlon of the Shelbyville series.

She wasn't too happy with her transition times from the last race, so Saturday night we set up transition areas in our driveway and practiced. After running through it a few times each with the stopwatch, we both felt more confident.

But for whatever reason, I think I was actually more nervous about this race than I was for my first tri. I kept feeling like I was forgetting things while we were getting our stuff together, and I had no idea what I was going to do for breakfast or fuel during the race.

Eventually I decided to get to bed and deal with it in the morning. Unfortunately, that meant I made us late -- something I really hate, especially since I was already nervous about the race.

We made it to the race with no other problems, and since I registered online before the race, we got in, got our numbers, and got marked up pretty quickly.

They moved the transition area to the rear parking lot for this race, which threw us off at first, but it worked out much better during the race. And there seemed to be just enough space for all the bikes -- things weren't as crowded as last time -- so that was definitely a plus!

After setting up our transitions (which weren't next to each other like I was hoping :-( ), we headed to the pool for the start of the race. We got there just a few minutes before the race started and found our place in line. Since I had pre-registered, I was right behind Jennifer this time! She was #895 and I was #896.

The line seemed to move faster this time, but that's probably just because I wasn't at the very back.

While standing in line, we starting talking to some of the people around us. One guy, who seemed to be in my age group, said he was nervous about the race because he hadn't raced in a while and hadn't done much training. I didn't catch his name, but he was right in front of Jennifer with  number 894.

Just before it was our turn, Jennifer and I said our good-byes and good-lucks, knowing we'd be seeing each other along the course.

This time around, the swim went really well. I don't know if I was more relaxed or what, but I felt strong during the whole swim, only stopping at the walls briefly (unlike last time, where I was hugging every wall trying to catch my breath). I could tell I was doing well because I kept hitting Jennifer's feet, as opposed to previous swims where it took everything I had just to keep up with her.

In her defense, though, she didn't have a very good swim.

At one point I made my move to pass her, but she wasn't having it. I pushed as hard as I could (without completely wearing myself out), but she sped up too, determined to keep me behind her. After realizing I just didn't have it in me, I fell in line behind her again and remained there for the rest of the swim.

I was still behind her when we climbed out of the pool and headed to the transition area. This time I did the swim in 9:03 -- 33 seconds faster than last time!

Our transitions weren't as smooth as when we had practiced, but we still did them pretty quickly (I was at 2:16 and she was at 2:19) and set out on our bikes side-by-side.

With the swim behind me, I was excited to get on with the rest of the race, so I took off on her.

If you recall from last week, the rear gears on my bike came loose, but luckily my friend let me borrow his Trek 1.2. It was my first time riding a true road bike with drop bars, so I was excited to see if it made the ride any easier or, more importantly, if I could go faster.

The bike course for this race was a 16 mile lollipop course that was different from the other races in this series, so neither of us knew what to expect when it came to hills. I mapped the course out on MapMyRide.com, which said we'd have a total climb of 213 feet. For comparison, the Garmin said I climbed 303 feet during our last training ride on the Louisville Loop (which is about as flat as you can get), and I only did half of what Jennifer did, so we really weren't expecting many hills.

But of course that wasn't the case.

This ride was pretty hilly, and the hills were fairly tough. Granted, Jennifer and I haven't really done much hill training yet, but these just seemed harder (I'm sure going all-out at race effort didn't help, either). According to the Garmin, we climbed almost double what MapMyRide said we would.

But notice my speed? Oh yeah, even with the hills, wind, and extra distance, I still managed to increase my speed one mile-per-hour! It might not sound like much, but that equates to about 4 minutes saved overall. And when you're in a competitive age group like I am, 4 minutes is huge!

Here are my splits:


My second transition was really quick -- just 31 seconds (compared to last time at 39 seconds).

As expected, the run was probably the easiest part for me. It's a quick 3 mile out-and-back around a golf course, but there are some hills that just seem to add insult to injury.

I started off really strong. I have no idea how or why, but I always start off at a 7-something minute mile pace when I come off the bike. Maybe it's because my legs are like noodles and can't feel the pain...

That momentum faded quickly on the way back, though, and I was doing all I could to force myself to keep running. I wanted to stop. I wanted to lay down.

I ended up walking a couple times because I felt like I had to, but it didn't affect my time too much. I ended up finishing the 3 miles in 24:37.

Here are my splits:

Just as a comparison (and I'm not sure if this math works out, but it is interesting...), we gained 404 feet total across 15.73 miles on the bike. That's an average of 25.68 feet per mile.

On the run, we gained 160 feet over 2.99 miles, which is an average of 53.5 feet per mile, or double the climbing per mile! And most of the climbing on the run was on the way back -- no wonder I wanted to quit!

So remember #894 -- our friend from the start of the race? I managed to catch him with about 2 miles left on the bike. We exchanged encouraging words as I passed him, not expecting to see him again.

I'm not sure if that motivated him or what, but with less than a half-mile left on the run he passed me!

It took a minute for my brain to process what was happening, but eventually I decided that I still had enough gas in the tank to beat him.

At the end of the run, there are two quick turns through the parking lot to the finish line.


I made my move between those turns, taking the inside course. He saw me and sped up. We were literally neck and neck.

For anyone watching, it must have looked like we were battling for first.

We crossed the finish line at the exact same time, and we were running faster than a 5 minute-per-mile pace!

I definitely race for the fun of it, but I enjoy the competitive aspect of it, too. And it's amazing to see just how hard you can push, even after you feel like you've already given everything you have.

The saddest part about the whole thing is that I can't find #894 in the results to see who won. It's like he was a figment of my imagination...

I'm assuming he won the run since he started after me and we finished together, but I think I got him overall, since he started 20 seconds before I did.

This time around, I finished 6th out of 7, with a total time of 1:32:01!

As for Jennifer, we didn't see each other again until I was heading back on the run course and she was heading out. She looked strong, but I knew that she was probably struggling like I was.

After I finished, B and I went back to wait for her. It was exciting having him there, and he was excited to run to the finish with her.

Out of 3 people in her age group, Jennifer finished FIRST! Way to go babe!!!

Sadly, this was the last race in this series. For anyone looking for a small, well-organized triathlon, you can't go wrong with one of these. I'm sure the other races put on by this group would be just as good, too. Check out headfirstperformance.com for a full calendar of events!

Even though I don't have a specific race picked out for my next tri, I'm going to keep training. I want to keep improving, and I'm eager to do an Olympic distance tri next (which is about double the distance). Keep checking back for updates -- I have a feeling this is just the beginning of my triathlon days...

1 comment:

  1. thats awesome guys!! haha love the part about Jennifer not letting you pass her in the swim :)

    ReplyDelete

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